June 22 2021 – Kara Schott
Sporting rifles just might be the most versatile outdoor tools, not only highly adjustable in terms of their performance, but compatible with an encyclopedic collection of attachments, accessories and upgrades that can make shooters more effective behind the platform. District Judge Roger Benitez just recently referred to the AR 15 as a Swiss Army knife, and he’s not too far off. They are highly versatile and can be used for competition and sport shooting, recreational shooting, hunting and more.
As such versatile and effective tools, AR 15 rifles and other sporting platforms are widely compatible with a large range of purpose-driven attachments and accessories that can significantly improve your accuracy, comfort, and convenience while shooting. Here are some top picks, and how they can help.
- Upgraded Optics
Probably the most common AR 15 attachment is some kind of upgraded optic, or at least, some kind of upgraded sights. While iron sights are effective and low maintenance, the clarity of your sight picture is limited to your visual acuity, they have limited efficacy in low light situations, and they offer no ability to “get a closer look” at your target.
Therefore, many sporting rifle owners consider upgraded optics among the most important attachments you can add to a platform.
Red Dot Sights and Scopes
There are many types of sights and optics, but in this article specifically, we will address the values of both red dot sights and scopes, which, though they both are optical attachments, are not the same and offer slightly different benefits.
How They Help
Red dot sights:
Red dot sights are special optics that consist of a fairly simple maxim. The unit has a housing and a plate of glass onto which a small bead of red (sometimes green) light is projected. Red dots are unique in that the apparent orientation of the dot is not subject to distortion, so even if you move your face on the comb of your stock, it will maintain a consistent point-of-aim.
- No need to line up sights
One of the biggest advantages of a red dot optic is that it frees you from the need to line up front sights with the rear sights, which enables for reflex, “point and shoot” shooting. This stands in contrast to shooting over iron sights, which requires shooters to develop methodical consistency when shouldering the firearm and lining up the sights before shooting.
- Keep your sight picture open
Red dots share this advantage with iron sights, but in this, they are superior to the use of a scope. When firing with a red dot, your sight picture is clear, potentially cutting back on your time-to-target acquisition.
- Lower time to target acquisition
On that note, since you have an open sight picture with a red dot optic, and you don’t need to line up sights, they’re capable of enabling shooters to get on target much faster, especially with practice.
- Reflexive; fast follow up shots
Finally, because shooters can get on target faster, red dot sights enable faster, reflexive follow-up shots. This can be valuable in both competition and in hunting, where quick follow-up shots are necessary for both scoring and ethical purposes, respectively.
Unlike a red dot sight, a scope relies on specially housed optics to provide magnification and in some cases, better visibility in low light conditions. Despite the fact that it is more difficult to acquire a target through a scope, and the sight picture can be limited, scopes do provide some distinct benefits.
- Magnify far-off targets
The chief benefit of a scope is that it enables a shooter to see far-off targets with better clarity. Of course, this is valuable for competition shooting where accuracy is scored, but it also has ethical implications for hunters seeking a humane, quick shot - for that, a scope is often a necessity.
- Ideal for long-distance shooting
For long-distance shooters - except those that purposely shoot over iron sights - quality optics are nearly as requisite as a firing pin. Some shooters routinely practice at 500 or even 1,000 yards, distances at which iron sights can get in their own way.
- A New Stock
Your AR 15 already came with a stock, so why would you want to replace it? Well, the stock on your sporting rifle might leave something significant to be desired. It might be too heavy, rough, or lack the adjustability needed to get the proper length of pull.
Some shooters overlook the fact that the dimensions of a firearm are the first determinant of accuracy. If a firearm doesn’t “fit” you, it is difficult to develop the kind of tack-driving efficiency required to compete.
How It Helps
- Modularity, better comfort
First, a high-quality, new stock for your sporting rifle will potentially provide you with much better comfort when you're shooting. If the factory stock left you with something to be desired, a replacement stock might have adjustments that fit you better through all seasons. Remember that though you might be shooting in a t-shirt in the summer, in the winter you might have three more layers, complicating your length of pull.
- Fit your length of pull more closely
The fact that you can adjust a new stock’s length of pull to better fit your personal dimensions is important for more than just comfort. Your ability to develop fluidity and consistency with your rifle will be paramount to accuracy and a stock that fits you better will help you shrink your groups.
Keep in mind also that a new stock may be adjustable with more than just LOP. Some stocks allow you to adjust the comb height as well, and in addition to stocks, you may be able to improve your fit with a new handguard or a new vertical foregrip or a pistol grip.
- Improved Bolt Carrier Groups
Your rifle’s bolt carrier group, better known as a BCG, houses a significant number of critical components of the action. The BCG contains the bolt and carrier, gas rings, firing pin, retaining pin, and the extractor, among other vital parts. Without a bolt carrier group, your sporting rifle is missing its heart and soul.
Because there are so many moving parts, bolt carrier groups are susceptible to significant wear and tear, especially in the presence of dirt and dust. This causes some owners to over-apply lubricant, which is actually counterproductive because it gives dirt, dust and sand something to adhere to.
As a result, there have been advances in permanent dry lubricity technology, and some bolt carrier groups are now coated in nickel-boron and nitride coatings. While these coatings are expensive, they enable easier cleaning, the use of less liquid lubricant, and better permanent dry lubricity, which offer shooters a few unique advantages.
How It Helps
- Reduced cycling time, faster follow up shots
Because some specialized BCG coatings enable better dry lubricity, they have the potential to cut back on cycling time. In between individual shots, this would be hardly noticeable, but over time the effects can add up, saving you time between shots and enabling you to become quicker and more efficient.
- Reduced wear and tear on the firearm
Another benefit of the dry lubricity of modern, advanced BCG coatings, with the use of less liquid lubrication, your bolt carrier group, and the firearm’s action, may both experience less wear and tear. In many instances, these BCGs can simply be wiped down with a dry rag and then returned to the rifle (of course, more thorough routine cleaning is necessary). Also, many of the coatings are expressly corrosion resistant as well.
- A New Trigger
A new trigger may also be able to positively impact your shooting experience because a low-quality trigger with a low of travel or a mushy one can certainly ruin it. Not knowing when the trigger is going to break will certainly make for a very poor experience behind the stock. A mushy trigger on a shotgun is bad enough; on a rifle, it’s unacceptable.
However, if you replace your rifle’s current trigger group with an upgraded one, that is adjustable, crisper and more reliable, can certainly provide a few direct benefits to your shooting experience.
How It Helps
- Less creep, more predictability, more accuracy
A more predictable trigger enables a more predictable shot - and that equates to accuracy. Inconsistency and unpredictability in a trigger all translate into groups that wander all over the paper, and for a shooter who is scored on accuracy, an unpredictable trigger is devastating.
- Adjust the break
Many high-quality triggers allow you to easily adjust the trigger weight so you can add weight, or take it away for a lighter pull if you so choose. Just what an optimal trigger pull is depends on whom you ask, but if you get an adjustable trigger that breaks reliably where you set it, you can determine that for yourself.
- A Better Brass Catcher
A brass catcher is not just a convenience for some shooters but also a necessary AR 15 attachment. Many brass catchers attach to a section of your AR’s rail and cover the ejection port, directing brass into a mesh bag. Some of these can be unzipped at the bottom, allowing brass to be easily emptied without removing the catcher.
It sounds like a good system, but there are some disadvantages, including the fact that some brass catchers obscure the sight picture, can melt or catch fire, or even hang up on brush. Our Brass Goat solves all of these handily, providing shooters with the following benefits.
How It Helps
- Keep your sight picture clear
A quality brass catcher, like our Brass Goat, mounts easily to lower receiver magwells without the need for tools. It has a slim profile, and since it doesn’t take up any rail space or extend up over the side of the ejection port, your sight picture will remain clear as if there were no brass catcher there at all.
- Fewer issues in the field
Mesh bags can hang up on thorns, briars, twigs, sticks, leaves, sedge grasses and all other manner of foliage when you take them out in the field. The Brass Goat, made from extremely tough, molded ABS resin, will not hang up on these, and because of its construction, it won’t melt or catch fire either.
- Save you time at the range
Some range rules require shooters to clean up their spent shells, which is time-consuming if you don’t use a brass catcher.
- Waste less brass, save money
Finally, given the current ammo crisis in the country, there’s a good chance you’ll want to save your bass, even if you can’t reload till you can get your hands on primers again.
- Muzzle Brakes
Muzzle brakes are restricted in some areas, but they can be very valuable for a shooter. Basically, a muzzle brake is an attachment that mounts to the end of your muzzle and redirects some of the gas that exits the barrel, away and to the sides, so that some of the recoil is consequently redirected. If you can work one into your platform, here’s what they offer.
How They Help
- Cut back on felt recoil
Without a muzzle brake, or porting that accomplishes the same action, almost all of the force generated as recoil will travel back through the rifle and into your shoulder. However, since a muzzle brake redirects the gas and thus the energy, it can significantly diminish felt recoil, which is significantly beneficial to recoil-sensitive shooters and those firing hot loads.
- Reduce muzzle jump
Another reason that muzzle brakes can be extremely valuable is that they limit muzzle rise, also called muzzle jump, when you’re shooting. This can help you keep your rifle on target and diminish your time between follow-up shots, enabling you to shoot more quickly and efficiently.If you want to learn more about our Brass Goat or how it can round out your assortment of AR 15 attachments, check out our product page, as well as our pages on the Brass Goat’s firearm and cartridge compatibility. For further assistance, please feel free to reach out to us at 1-833-MAGWELL or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org